MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- A Marine with Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 competed in the 2006 Western Division Competition-in-Arms Program at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 13-31 and returned to station April 18.
Sgt. Edward Goenne, MWSS-371 bulk fuel specialist, represented Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in the competition as a member of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing shooting team.
The competition had more than 100 active-duty, reserve and civilian competitors from west of the Mississippi ready to shoot for gold at Wilcox Range aboard Camp Pendleton.
The participants competed as four-man teams and were able to gain individual glory shooting the M16-A2 service rifle at 200, 300 and 500 yards and the M9 9mm pistol at 25 yards.
Competitors used the prone, sitting and standing positions with the rifle, and standing with the pistol. The competition had maximum scores of 300 on both the rifle and pistol divisions.
Competitors were given about two weeks to familiarize themselves with the weapons and each other in order to prepare for the three-week competition.
Goenne, a native of Meriden, Conn., placed 14th in the rifle competition, 23rd in the pistol, and his team placed fourth in the team competition.
Geonne said he was a last-minute addition to the team and his goal was to perform on-par with the other competitors.
“I gave a pretty good performance,” said Geonne. “The competition was fierce, the days were long, and the range featured every type of weather you could think of.”
Geonne showed he is a Marine rifleman, he gave everything he had and performed just as expected, said Gunnery Sgt. Leopoldo Verdugo, MWSS-371 fuels operations chief.
The event was not about winning, but about learning to be effective with a weapon, said Geonne. The competition helped the participants to see the strengths and weaknesses of the rifles and themselves, he added.
Geonne said the event taught him to hone his fundamental rifle skills because the competitors had to shoot on the final day of competition in the rain with 25 mph winds, he said.
Geonne said he will use the knowledge he gained from the competition to attain a distinguished rifle badge and to help his Marines with their shooting.
He has already begun to apply the knowledge he brought away from the competition, said Verdugo. He is helping the Marines in MWSS-371 and will use that knowledge during his rifle qualification this month.
“I didn’t get first, but my goal is to win at least silver in the next competition,” said Geonne. “It takes a lot of practice and range time, a lot of mental and physical stamina, but I am ready for it.”
Even though he did not win, Geonne was able to experience something fun and different, said Verdugo. It is always good for Marines to do something different from their jobs because it makes them better Marines, he added.
Geonne said he will be changing duty stations Tuesday and going to MCAS Cherry Point, N.C., after taking leave for a few days.
Geonne will be able to use this experience while on the East Coast and accomplish his goals for rifle glory there, said Verdugo.
The winner of the rifle competition was Sgt. Kelly R. Wakefield, a primary marksmanship instructor for Weapons Field Training Battalion, at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He was also the recipient of the first-time competitor, award.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego’s Purple Cobras won both the team and individual pistol matches. They also took high rankings in the individual rifle matches.
The competitors who finished in the top 10 percent competed in the All-Marine Championships at MCB Camp Lejeune, N.C. April 10-28.